Monday, August 01, 2016

Notes from PIPA meeting, Monday Aug 1st, 10 AM, Presidio

I was able to attend the Presidio International Port Authority meeting this morning in Presidio. Bylaws were adopted, officers were appointed and named, Jake Giesbrecht was hired to be the executive director, and many other important steps were taken. Within ten days this authority hopes to be able to have office space leased and receive grant money into a bank account.
Very important developments here in improving our port of entry, for economic purposes and safety.

Presidio International Port Authority meeting Monday, August 1st, 2016, 10 AM, Presidio Activity Center, Presidio.

Call to order at 10:25 AM. Members present: Judge Cinderela Guevara, Commissioner Jim White, Commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez, District Attorney Rod Ponton, PIPA employee Jake Giesbrecht. Not present, Mayor John Ferguson, Councilman Alcee Tavarez.
Judge Guevara presiding.

Item 5: nominations and approval of members to board within the bylaws of PIPA. Article three, page 5 of bylaws. Jim White nominates Judge Guevara as president, John Ferguson, VP, Jim White treasurer, Lorenzo Hernandez, unanimous.

Item 6: Appointment of person to be executive director of PIPA and discuss compensation. Action on both. Pages 6&7 of bylaws references.
Judge Guevara recommends Jake Giesbrecht. Jim White asks about county compensation when Jake was working for County. Jake explains and says the former rate was fair. Compensation was retainer of 20 hours per week at $32/hr. Over 20 hours billed at $32/hr. Minimum 20 hours per week pay. White thinks it is not enough. 
Jake agrees but for the time being this rate is OK, maybe later once things progress we can raise and should. Hernandez asks if this is enough. Jake says for the first six months this will be good, baby steps. Hernandez wants to be sure that this compensation will get us enough service. Jake says that the fact he can hire help makes this work; he is going to need help. Hernandez wants to approve any recommended hires. White says we have to have not just a good staff, but a great staff. This will cost money. Hernandez still wants control over recommendations. White agrees but is focused on having a great staff, not just a good one. Really really important. Rod mentions that PIPA board will have power to set the budget on staffing. Hernandez wants to make sure that a member of staff can help hi take care of secretary duties. Answer is yes, according to White and Jake. Federal dollars are coming, we are going to need to have people. Judge mentions that the bylaws require director to hire staff. 
White makes motion to hire Jake at levels recommended. 20 hours at $32/hr, anything further, $32/hr. 
Hernandez seconds. Unanimous.

Item 7- review and discuss governing statutes, regulations and elated documents. Rod Ponton presents, runs through bylaws. Rod says he consulted with entities that have created corporations such as this one. Local government corporations are authorized under the Texas Transportation Code to operate. Has all the authority of a county or city but also as a non-profit corporation. Gives it the flexibility to partner with Feds, state and also private entities. Cities of Amarillo, San Antonio have used this type of setup. Joint effort between the County and the City of Presidio. TXDOT and Feds definitely want to see cooperation between the entities. Two directors of the three the County appoints have to live and vote in Presidio area voting districts. (white and Hernandez)
Hernandez wants to know if they should be moving to approve the bylaws. Yes, Rod says. 
Item A needs approval, all else are supporting documents. 
White mentions that any director can be removed by a majority vote at any time. 
Hernandez makes motion to approve. White seconds. Unanimous.
Discussion regarding open meetings. Rod briefs. Corporation is subject to open meetings act and has immunity as a county or city would to some lawsuits, but can make decisions like a corporation. 
Local government corporations are governed specifically by Texas law. Briefs about that law. 
Non-profit corporation law: PIPA is also subject to the non-profit corporation law. 
Non-profit corporation act applies. 
Texas civil practice and remedies codes protects members of the board from lawsuits for decisions that they make on the board. 
Jake has a question about the Public Private Partnership. Feds are coming soon to ask what we want to do. We can possibly accept donations from private companies. Rod says yes, we will be able to do that. Example: companies that want to use the port after hours can make a donation. Bylaws call for ability to have a partnership with private companies to help build infrastructure. 
Jake says airport will be an immediate need for after hours CBP service. 
Rod says that airport operations improvements and rail improvements can be cooperation based. 
Jake says that we are going to have a great contract with CBP to open more opportunities. They are ready to act. Bylaws have already been passed by County, Mayor has signed it, city of Presidio expected to approve this week. 

Item 8- meeting times: first of the month recommended by Judge Guevara. 
Hernandez would rather have a Tues or Wed, not Mon. 
Judge says that could be OK. Hernandez recommends first Tues or Wed of the month. Ten AM, OK with everyone. Board can call a special meeting at any time, as long as it is posted in accordance with open meetings act.
First Tuesday of the month at Ten AM proposed in Presidio. 
Judge proposes first Thursday, discussion. Agreed upon for first Tuesday of the month, ten AM, Presidio. Discussion as to where to have it. County annex suggested. Annex will be used until an office is leased or wherever else meeting is posted. 
White makes this motion. Seconded by Judge. Unanimous.

Item 9- Ex-Officio appointments. Take no action. (Advisory board appointments)

Item 10- Bank accounts, signatures, etc.
White recommends using the local bank, wants two signatures on checks. 
Rod will write a resolution based on action. 
White recommends Big Bend Banks, suggests he be one of the signatories. 
Judge wants three signatures on checks, wants to have herself or Mayor be signatory. 
Jake says the PMDD pays bills only at meetings; treasurer must sign, anyone else on the board can sign. Members like this idea. 
Brad Newton recommends a debit card for travel. White says we need a credit card. 
Judge makes motion to authorize executive director to open an account at BigBend Banks, and that he designate as signatory Treasurer Jim White and that all other board members are signatories. All bills will be paid at meetings by vote, second account with debit card with a limit will be opened for travel purposes. White seconds. Unanimous. 

Item 11- Receipt of funds from PMDD- authorizes PIPA to receive funds from PMDD, County and City of presidio. White motions to accept. Judge seconds, unanimous.

Item 12- office and personnel- office space, office equipment, secretary. White says he has though about this quite a bit. We should look around, else or buy, we need a truly nice space in Presidio that is more like a house, with a kitchen, boardroom, lodging quarters for people to stay overnight if Congressman or someone else is in town. This is an upper level situation, we need to present a good front. 
Board members should cooperate on finding a short term and long tern proposal for this. Office needs to be very professional. Search should start immediately, such as this afternoon. We need to figure out who wants to be involved, get on it. Hernandez says that before we jump the gun, we need to think about staffing. He agrees that the facility needs to be first class, this is a good vision. 
Jim wants to start looking for staff tomorrow. Jake is in charge. Rod says that there needs to be a set for qualifications and then need to advertise for position. Jim reiterates that Jake is in charge. 
Jake says the office location is very important to him. As close to the port as possible. 
He and Clay Slack have rented a small space next to the welcome center in the meantime for overflow. Using for shade when crowded. 
First impressions are very important, plan to be the best port in Texas. TXDOT is partnering and this is the only port owned by TXDOT. 
White wants to get on this now, find a temporary office, look towards the long term. He wants a place in ten days. 
Judge asks how much money we have now. White says there is some County money and PMDD money. There is enough money to get going now. We may collect TXDOT money within ten days as well. 
Rod will handle tax ID number, bank docs, etc. 
Judge makes motion as written on agenda. Authorizes board members to execute. White seconds. Unanimous 

Item 13- approve 559 agreement.
Hernandez makes motion, white seconds. Unanimous. 
Rod says that August tenth Feds will come down to discuss 559 agreement.

Break at 11:27 for five minutes. 

Reconvene at 11:35 

Item 14- TXDOT agreements: Rod says that through TXDOT there are a few major federal grants available for border infrastructure improvements. Lots of money available. PIPA should try for these. TXDOT will brief in El Paso next month, hopefully PIPA can come up with a master plan concept. 
Bridge expansion project, possible additions to approaches, parking, etc. 
White would prefer to authorize PIPA executive director, counsel and board members to make decision. Not limited to director and counsel. 
Discussion orange of teamwork. 
White makes motion to authorize PIPA board members through executive director and counsel to meet with A, B and C on agenda. 
Jake mentions that automatically board members are always authorizing and agreements, Rod agrees. No really matter on wording, same result. 
Judge seconds. Unanimous. 

Item 15- executive director and counsel to meet and negotiate with CBP. This will occur nine days from now on the tenth at 11:00 AM. White makes motion. Hernandez seconds. Unanimous. 

Item 16- Additional projects: Hernandez motions, White seconds. Unanimous. 

Item 17- Executive session. Unnecessary. No action

Item 18- No Action

Item 19- Public Comments: 
Brad Newton: offers congratulations on accomplishments. This is a real game changer for the county and city of Presidio. Looking forward to working with Jake and PMDD board. PMDD in interested in partnering and working together for success. 
Rod Ponton says that the cooperation between all entities is key to success. White agrees this is a whole team effort. 
Brad says that Presidio is looking for string steady growth, and this is the way to do it. Judge Guevara thanks Brad for help with county issues and PIPA. 
Hernandez agree that we can make progress and have a lot of progress we can make since our area is so far behind other areas of the border. 

Jake Giesbrecht says that the board should recognize that the City officials have been so helpful and that State officials are impressed and even jealous of our position as the only international bridge owned by TXDOT. We are getting that attention from them and they are excited. We are fortunate to have this team. The goal, and it is achievable, is to be the model port of Texas. White says that we also need to thank Carlos Nieto for jump starting this conversation on the Mexican side. Now we are playing catch up but we are in a good position.
Hernandez would like for the City of Presidio officials to know about these agendas. 
Judge says that PIPA can make a special email group to send agendas to. 
White says transparency is key. Efforts to improve communication will be made.
Rod makes a point of the importance of thinking in a grad vision. 
White wants members of the Mexican so sulfate to attend. Jake says they are willing, and that can be done. 
Talks about efficiency in building the port. PIPA could try to make any area of the County a "Free Trade Zone" so that trucks can be inspected after they enter the port, away from traffic. 
Tracy Runyon, a Fourth generation Presidio resident speaks. She is interested in the train coming back, and that will bring Presidio back into a commerce oriented society. 
She agrees that not having been asking for fed and TXDOT money has been a problem for decades. She believes this entity can get the job done, finally. Hopefully the vision includes preservation of dark skies, natural resources, but provide a future for the children of Presidio. 
Hernandez brings up that kids from Presidio have parents that work outside of Presidio. Most of them, in fact. Really important to keep parents together, working and help families. 

Motion  to adjourn at 12:04 by White. Adjourned .

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